3 matchups to watch for Denver Broncos Week 1 vs. Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders come to Denver for week one of the 2023 NFL season. What are the three biggest matchups to watch?

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2. Denver Broncos' DL vs. RB Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs is annoyingly good against the Denver Broncos and was the most productive RB in the NFL last year. He did sign a one-year deal with the Raiders recently, so he is back in the mix. Denver didn't really do much to improve their interior defensive line in 2023. Dre'Mont Jones left in free agency, and the Broncos signed Zach Allen to replace him. Allen has spent each year of his career with Vance Joseph and has actually gotten better each season.

On paper though, the Broncos' DL line is a bit thin, and I am very much wondering who is the other starter along the DL next to Allen and DJ Jones. The Denver Broncos had a pretty average run defense last year, and I think this unit is one Zach Allen or DJ Jones injury away from being a horribly bad unit. In fact, I think this DL is probably the worst position group on the Denver Broncos.

Perhaps I'm wrong, though, but man, I have a hard time believing in this unit. Players along the defensive line not already mentioned include Mike Purcell, Jonathan Harris, Elijah Garcia, and Matt Henningsen. Oof. I do think the Denver Broncos should have done a bit more in free agency to boost this unit, but perhaps one of the young players like Garcia or Henningsen decided to step up this year.

The DL does have a huge test in week one against Josh Jacobs, who has usually run all over the Denver Broncos' defense. And when you consider that Jimmy Garoppolo is pretty bad, the Raiders are surely going to be a run-first team, so Josh Jacobs is going to get his carries. If the Broncos' DL fails to keep Jacobs in check, or at least at an average level in week one, it'll be a long day for the team.